FranceAgriMer, part of the French Ministry of Agriculture, is funding a three year communication campaign to encourage wine professionals and consumers in China to look beyond Bordeaux.
French campaign: promote ‘as many appellations as possible’
The purpose of the ‘Experience France with the wines of France’ campaign, aimed at importers, retailers, chefs and sommeliers as well as consumers, is to promote the 12 French wine regions and ‘as many appellations as possible’, according to FranceAgriMer.
Decanter.com’s original story saying the campaign was run by Ubifrance, the French government agency for international business development, was incorrect: sessions will take place in the French pavilion run by Ubifrance, at the Top Wine Fair in Beijing on 5 and 6 June, but that is the only connection Ubifrance has with the campaign.
Tutored tastings for the trade, cooking demonstrations with food and wine pairing for consumers, and a press campaign will be the main thrust of the campaign.
France currently dominates China’s emerging market for imported wine, but much of this is down to Bordeaux.
French officials are keen for other regions to capitalise on growth opportunities against rising competition from the likes of Australia and Chile, as well as domestic Chinese wine.
Isabelle Gilquin of the Fleishman-Hillard PR agency, which is running the campaign, told Decanter.com, ‘Bordeaux is of course part of the campaign, but we want to highlight lesser-known regions.’
She added that some sessions would focus on white, rosé or sparkling wines ‘only to open the mind and the taste’ of the targeted groups.
‘Having people taste as many different French wines as possible is the best way of persuading Chinese professionals and consumers to branch out.
‘In China, people buy their wines on a name. You can have a £15 wine from Languedoc-Roussillon that is a really good wine, but if you also have a £15 wine from Bordeaux then most people will go for the Bordeaux.’
Per capita wine consumption in China is only around one litre, compared to 14 litres per head in the US and 50 litres in France.
However, China is on course to overtake the US as the world’s largest wine market by volume within two decades, according to statistical forecasts.
FranceAgriMer’s campaign will run alongside communication efforts by regional French wine bodies.
Written by Adam Lechmere and Chris Mercer